Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
You’re planning for a big cross-state move, or perhaps you’re even relocating to another country. You’ve got your bags all packed and your moving arrangements worked out, but you’re just not sure what to do with your motorcycle. You’d like to ship it, but you have no idea how much that would cost. What kind of price tag should you expect here?
Motorcycle shipping costs vary depending on how far you need the vehicle transported. If your bike is traveling fewer than 1,000 miles in the same country, you can expect to pay $180 to $300. If you're traveling over 1,000 miles, you can expect to pay $350 to $700 in some instances. Residential fees, expedited shipping, and your motorcycle make and model can also drive up the cost.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about shipping a motorcycle. From how to get started to all your transportation methods, you’ll be ready to schedule your motorcycle shipping soon. We’ll even discuss international shipping rates.
Let’s get started!
How Does Motorcycle Shipping Work?
Now that we’ve told you a bit about the prices you may expect to pay as you ship your motorcycle, how does the whole process work? Does your motorcycle get loaded into a big cardboard box and then sent out?
You actually have a few options, and no, none of them use a cardboard box. You can opt for container, crated, pallet, and roll-on/roll-off shipping. Let’s discuss these shipping methods in more detail.
With container shipping, your motorcycle gets transported via a sizable container. These containers typically have a metal shell, so they’re durable enough to send your bike safely to its destination.
This shipping option is a dockside one, so you don’t necessarily get much distance from Point A to Point B. Your motorcycle can go from one dock to another, but nowhere else. You’d have to plan your route accordingly then.
You can also try crated shipping. This time, your motorcycle is loaded into a wooden crate. Then, like other sizable crates, your bike moves by forklift or construction truck. It will go to a shipper’s liftgate and even a dock in some instances. Next, the crate is picked up and sent to its destination.
There's also pallet shipping. This specialty service entails the shipper traveling out to you with a pallet for your motorcycle. They enclose the bike in the pallet, securing it with tie-down straps. Then the motorcycle travels via pallet jack to the liftgate where it’s shipped.
Finally, there’s roll-on/roll-off shipping. Although we saved this method for last, it’s an option many motorcyclists use for shipping their bikes.
Your motorcycle first moves to a trailer via a lift gate or ramp. With tie-down straps, the motorcycle is secured on the trailer. Then, the trailer drives to you or transports your motorcycle part of the way, where it’s picked up and its journey continues to your doorstep.
Can You Ship A Motorcycle On A Plane?
You’re weighing your shipping options per the above methods, but you wish you could do something a little more expedient. For instance, what about transporting your motorcycle on a plane? Is that possible?
Yes, indeed! You may also like the benefits associated with shipping via plane. These include:
- Tracking services let you see where in the air your motorcycle is. That makes it easy to anticipate its arrival as well as see any snags (if they happen) in real-time.
- You save time and effort shipping via plane since you don’t have to do nearly as much prepping and packing as you do with the other shipping options we discussed in the last section.
- Most air freights are willing to decrease insurance premiums, making transportation a more cost-effective venture for you.
- Airline security gives you great peace of mind that your motorcycle will be treated well.
- Compared to other shippers, you may have a lower chance of your motorcycle being damaged or disappearing when traveling on a plane.
- Airplane shipping is faster, so you don’t have to wait nearly as long to be reunited with your motorcycle.
2020 data from Home Advisor quotes airplane shipping for motorcycles at around $400 to $800 on average. However, that price is not guaranteed, and you might have to buy your own seat to ride in a passenger plane, keeping your motorcycle in the plane’s cargo bay. That would be costlier than the Home Advisor price range.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Motorcycle Internationally?
What if you have a bigger trip planned than going state to state? You want to ship your motorcycle to your new home in another country. You’re assuming this will cost more money, but how much exactly?
According to Move.org, the price is between $1,000 and $2,000 to ship a motorcycle internationally.
Don’t just anticipate that cost alone. As we talked about in the intro, you have to worry about all sorts of fees on top of the shipping costs. Here are a few of these:
Overseas Shipping Fees
Like you can’t just travel to another country without a passport, you have to get your motorcycle permitted ahead of your arrival. County permit fees and port entry fees can also drive up the cost of your shipping, but these charges may sometimes get rolled into your overall shipping price.
Your motorcycle may not always travel internationally by plane, so that means it’ll be on the road. As your shipper travels country lines, they’ll surely come across a multitude of highway and other roadway tolls. This can tack on $200 to $300 more to your overall costs, but this price is flexible.
Oversized Bike Fee
If your motorcycle exceeds four feet by nine feet, then it may get hit with an oversized bike fee. Sometimes, you get charged this fee not necessarily because of the size of your bike, but if it needs two carrier spots.
The oversized bike fee isn’t huge, about $150 to $250.
Attempted Delivery Or Pickup
You can’t just schedule a pickup for your motorcycle to be shipped and then go to work or elsewhere. If you’re not home during the pickup, you could get back later to find an attempted pickup charge on your doorstep.
The same goes for you not being there when the bike arrives, but this would be an attempted delivery fee. In both cases, the fee is $100 to $200, so you might want to adjust your availability accordingly.
What Is The Best Motorcycle Shipping Company?
All the information you’ve read to this point has been very handy. You just have one last question, and that’s which company should you entrust to ship your motorcycle? You’d like to avoid your bike getting damaged in any way, especially if you have a vintage model.
uShip is one highly acclaimed option. They ship furniture, vehicles, Jacuzzis, farm and construction equipment, appliances, RVs, and even live animals. Yes, you can ship your pets through uShip.
The transport marketplace uShip runs allows you to choose one transportation provider out of many. Not only does this give you access to some of the best shippers around, but you can find a shipping price that works for you.
Montway is another such option you might consider for shipping your motorcycle. They deal exclusively in vehicle transportation, but on a nationwide rather than international basis. You do get a quote before anyone ever touches your bike, which is great for budgeting.
Also, Montway prides itself on its simple three-step shipping process. First, you get your quote and then schedule your order. Next, the Montway team comes to take your motorcycle for shipping. Then, their team carefully sends the vehicle to its destination.
Whether you go with Montway, uShip, or another motorcycle shipping company entirely, keep these tips in mind:
- Always get a quote: If you don’t have a quote that’s in writing, your shipper could say one thing and then bill you for something else entirely. It’s also good if the shipper has a website with pricing so you can see what you’re in for before you commit.
- Opt for tracking: Sometimes tracking may cost you extra, but it’s worth it. Now you can watch your motorcycle’s progress during every twist, turn, and curve of the road.
- Choose specialty shippers: If the company only ships cars and trucks, then they might not even offer motorcycle transportation. Even if they do, do they know how to ship a motorcycle? You want a shipper with specialty experience to maintain your motorcycle’s pristine condition.
- Insured and licensed: Make sure your shipping company is insured and licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If you don’t see anywhere on the shipper’s website that they have a license, you can always send an email and ask to see a copy of the license. If they say no, something is fishy.
You have the freedom to ship your motorcycle many different ways, such as by a plane or even on the ground in a pallet or metal crate. Depending on how far you want to go, be that within your country or outside of it, the prices of the move will vary. You must also be prepared for extra fees that will increase costs.
You’re now ready to ship your motorcycle so you can ride on new horizons. Good luck!
Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts: